WATCH: Dubai's Jetmen soar with Emirates A380 over city
Largest passenger aircraft demonstrates breathtaking precision alongside path-breaking winged duo Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet.
Dubai's famed "Jetman" Yves Rossy and his sidekick Vince Reffet have taken to the skies in a formation flight in the skies over Dubai's Palm Jumeirah alongside an Emirates Airline A380.
"I come from a background of piloting commercial aircraft and it was always a dream to fly without the constraints of being inside a cockpit," Rossy said. "Vince and I are thrilled to partner with Emirates and would like to thank them for helping us turn yet another dream into reality. It was absolutely surreal flying alongside the biggest aircraft there is and we felt like mosquitos beside a gigantic eagle."
To conduct the flight - which was conducted after three months of meticulous planning by Emirates staff and the Jetman support team - was conducted at 4,000 feet, with the pair of Jetmen deploying from a helicopter that hovered 1,500 feet above the aircraft. The pair conducted formations on both sides of the aircraft, before joining each other on one side and breaking formation.
"We spent a long time preparing, going over every tiny detail in the quest for perfecting our first formation flight with the Emirates A380 aircraft," junior Jetman Vince Reffet said. "It is incredibly humbling to be a part of what is such a significant achievement for Dubai and the Jetman team."
During the flight, the A380 flew at a weight of 350 tonnes, significantly below the aircraft's maximum weight of 575 tonnes. According to Emirates, the wake turbulence of the aircraft was the most significant risk to the Jetmen. To mitigate that risk, the pair's positions were carefully selected to be in areas which would avoid the wake turbulence and jet back-blast. Additionally, ahead of the flight the Jetman duo practiced their orientation alongside an actual A380 at the Emirates Engineering Centre. A first practice flight was conducted on October 12, with the formation flight and filming conducted the next day.
"This display between man and machine celebrates the magic and beauty of flight, a feat which just over a hundred years ago would have seemed an impossible dream. It also showcases how far human vision and ambition has, and can continue to push aviation's boundaries," said Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Emirates. "A spectacular formation flight like this is unprecedented, but as with all of Emirates' operations, every aspect was painstakingly evaluated and practiced in our simulators to address all possible contingencies."
The flight was also carried out with the support of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Dubai Air Traffic Control, SkyDive Dubai and Aerovision.
"From a DCAA Safety Oversight perspective, this event raised a number of challenges, as this was the very first time two humans, would fly in close formation to the largest passenger aircraft in the world," said Michael Rudolph, Head of Aviation Regulations and Safety at the DCAA.
"It was imperative to lessen, if any, the impact to commercial traffic approaching and departing from Dubai International Airport. Overall, this was achieved and even with slight schedule changes, the event went off without delay any safety concerns to any party associated to the project. DCAA is proud to be a part of aviation history." Ismaeil Al Hashmi, the Managing Director Jetman Dubai, said that the flight is a celebration of Dubai's adventurous spirit.
"This demonstration of winged innovation is a perfect celebration of the values and intentions that both Jetman Dubai and Emirates share: striving for excellence and shaping perceptions," he said.
"Dubai, a city that's constantly breaking boundaries and creating history, is the ideal host for this exceptional Jetman formation flight, which once again pushes the frontiers of aviation."
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